Army aggressive on tech spending

Leaders see funds focused on transformation to the Objective Force, with legacy systems phasing out

Association of the U.S. Army

The Army is spending 95 percent of its science and technology budget and 70 percent of its research and development budget on its transformation to the Objective Force, and funding must increase in the future, according to two service leaders.

Maj. Gen. William Bond, director of force development in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Programs (G-8), said the Army is still looking at the overall costs of Objective Force, which is envisioned to be more deployable than the current armored forces and will be better able to survive an all-out fight than the current light forces.

Bond said it is already clear that more money will be needed in upcoming budgets, which means completely phasing out legacy systems.

"It depends on where we think we need to go," Bond told Federal Computer Week after his presentation at the Association of the U.S. Army's 2002 Winter Symposium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "The fiscal 2004 budget will be much more focused and have more money," and that will continue through fiscal 2009.

When asked if there would be any additional funding for legacy systems in those budgets, Bond responded, "I don't see any."

Bond said he will link his office's Objective Force spending to whatever the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency decide to do.

Maj. Gen. Joseph Yakovac Jr., program executive officer for ground combat support systems, echoed Bond's call for more money because the Future Combat System vehicles that will support the Objective Force will cost from $7 million to $9 million each.

FCS, tentatively scheduled for delivery by the end of the decade, will be a family of information technology-equipped vehicles capable of conducting missions that include command and control, surveillance and reconnaissance; direct and indirect fire; and personnel transport.

"Technology is very expensive," and the Army is constrained by time, funding and cultural issues, Yakovac said. "The constraints will influence how fast we get there" and the capabilities the service has along the way.

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